Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nu är det wintertid igen

JenniferLast year Sweden had the worst November in decades, as measured by having very few hours of sunlight (17 in total). Throughout the month, everyone was secretly hoping that it would snow, a lot, and soon, as the snow makes it what light there is brighter and is much better than endless grey days with a temperature hovering just above freezing.

One day toward then end of the month, the afternoon fika conversation at work turned to a prediction that there would be 25 cm of snow overnight. I frankly didn't believe it, partially because the weather forecasting is so bad here (and partly because I wanted it to be true). I expressed my disbelief by using a sarcastic, crude American expression that involves my posterior and winged simians. People laughed.

That night it did in fact snow, and at least 25 cm. The next day, car traffic was completely snarled, the sidewalks were a mess, and many trains and buses were cancelled or ran very very late. I had to go in to work early for a seminar in another department, and I lingered after it was over, trying to delay having to face my work comrades for as long as possible. But at last I could put off going to work no longer. I went down to the break room, with a forlorn hope that they had already finished with morning fika and were back at work. No such luck. In fact, they appeared to be waiting for me. Their conversation halted. The whole table stared at me as I stepped up to the coffee machine. Their faces can only be described as smug.

"Don't you people have work to do?" I said, in an attempted preemptive strike.

"Hahaha," they said. "So how are those monkeys doing?"

Well, I learned my lesson last year, and have not uttered that sarcastic crude phrase again. I'm telling you this story now only to say that it is not my fault that we are having a blizzard just at the moment, and that it looks like winter time is here early, and for good.

I was supposed to do an errand downtown this afternoon, but when I got there it was so slippery that I decided to get right back on the bus and go home. I however make a short detour to the hat of an accordian-playing busker with a sense of humor, who was playing "Summertime" as the snow blew up in swirls around him. "Det är för att du spelar 'Sommartid'," I said and put a crown in his hat. "Tack," he grinned, and started the tune once more, with feeling.

(I'd say it's this kind of thing that makes Swedes great, but truthfully, it's this kind of behavior which makes immigrants to Sweden great.)

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